We've been here only 3 days, so I really couldn't tell you guys a thing about Thailand yet. It honestly feels like we're just on a weeks vacation even though that couldn't be any further from the truth. One thing I can tell you is the level of respect shown and given in this place is mind blowing. I think most of us have been on vacays where you spend most of your adventure time fighting off aggressive vendors or trying to find a shimmer of help in all the anti-tourist snobbery. But this place seems to be on the opposite end of the spectrum. Everyone I've come across as of yet, and I do mean everyone, is like a practicing saint. There's no fuss and better yet, no muss. Random people on the street will order your food for you if you look even a tad bit confused and then just walk away. Walk down the wrong alley, a little old lady will literally point you back in the right direction. Best of all in my opinion, the folks that seem to be in positions of power are helpful beyond belief, which for me is a freaking phenomenon because I've probably acknowledged more "officers" here in 3 days than I have in my entire lifetime.
I bring up the value of respect because today we visited Wat Phra Kaew, better known as Bangkok's Golden Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This place is the most magnificent man made creation I have ever seen. It size alone makes it almost impossible to photograph and on a sunny day the gold plating and glass embellishments turn whatever you're looking at into one big reflection. Thousands of people flock through the Temple everyday, and even through the chattering and selfie sticks, a level of immense honor and esteem seem to cover the entire scene like a blanket. Granted, its against the law in Thailand to verbally oppose any kind of royalty, but I had never seen anything like this. Of the hundreds of pictures I saw being taken today I don't recall a single funny face or odd gesture. People stood with hands at their sides or in a wai as if to be greeting the buddha himself. The palace itself was an amazing thing to see and participate in, but the environment it commands is what makes it spectacular.
Again, I cant wait to understand more about this culture and these people so I can share it with you guys. I can imagine being here an entire lifetime and not even scratching the surface, but this sense of appreciation for everything and everyone around you seems to be at the heart of this country.